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Precision National Plating Services

EPA Region 3 (Mid-Atlantic)

Lackawanna County
Clarks Summit

EPA ID# PAD053676631

10th Congressional District

Last Update: September 2002
For current information go to: www.epaosc.org/precision

Other Names


Current Site Status

Precision is carrying out the investigation and cleanup under a 1998 order and the supervision of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The company has been testing the soil, drinking water, surface water, biota, and groundwater to assess the potential risk to public health and the environment. A groundwater study to fully understand the type and extent of underground water contamination is on-going. The company samples groundwater quarterly. A draft groundwater report will be submitted to EPA shortly. A seep collection system was installed in November 2001 to catch and treat contaminated groundwater which was seeping onto the ground surface.

As a part of the on-going ecological risk assessment for the site, samples of aquatic plants and invertebrate tissue were analyzed in November 2001. This sampling revealed elevated chromium accumulations in the biota of Ackerly Creek. Because these accumulations could have been as a result of historical contamination, Precision conducted surface water testing of June 2002. The June 2002 water sampling confirmed elevated levels of hexavalent chromium in Ackerly Creek and Glenburn Pond. These events compelled EPA to request that Precision take actions to prevent the migration of hexavalent chromium to Ackerly Creek via groundwater. In September 2002, Precision submitted several proposals to EPA to accomplish this task. EPA is reviewing these proposals. A final decision on what action Precision should pursue will be made in October 2002. Actual design and construction of the chosen method will follow soon thereafter. In addition, an EPA study of sport fish in Glenburn Pond will confirm whether or not levels of chromium in fish could be harmful to human health. It should be noted that the levels found in aquatic plants and invertebrates would seem to indicate no such threat.

Finally, an epidemiological study is being conducted by Dr. Edward Emmett of the University of Pennsylvania to see if the ailments of various former and past residents who lived near the site have a common cause, and whether these ailments are consistent with long-term hexavalent chromium exposure.

Site Description

The Precision National Plating Services Site consists of 45 partially wooded acres located at the top of a hill at 198 Ackerly Road in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. Precision had been chrome plating locomotive parts since 1956. The site is partly in Abington Township and partly in Glenburn Township. Arch Avenue is directly down gradient of Precision and the private drinking water wells located on Arch Avenue had been contaminated with hexavalent chromium to varying degrees since the 1970s. In 1988, EPA responded to a release of chromic acid from the site and performed an Expanded Site Investigation.
Site Responsibility
This site is being addressed by a Potentially Responsible Party pursuant to an Administrative Order.
NPL Listing History
This Site is not on the National Priorities List.

Threats and Contaminants

Hexavalent chromium has been found in groundwater beneath the site. Hexavalent chromium, when inhaled at high levels, can irritate the nose and sinuses. Ingesting large amounts of chromium can cause
digestive, kidney and liver damage, and skin contact can cause ulcers, redness and swelling. Studies have shown that inhalation of hexavalent chromium vapors over a long period of time may
cause cancer.

In 1998, Precision provided public water hookups to those on Arch Avenue whose wells were effected by the contamination. Recent data has revealed the migration of hexavalent chromium from groundwater to Ackerly Creek. Some accumulations of chromium have been found in aquatic plants and invertebrates in Ackerly Creek and Glenburn Pond, but it is not believed to be at levels harmful to those consuming fish from the Pond. An EPA study of sport fish in Glenburn Pond will reveal whether or not this is the case.

Contaminant descriptions and risk factors are available from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, an arm of the CDC.


Cleanup Progress

In 1997, Precision voluntarily removed 5,300 cubic yards of contaminated soil in an encapsulation vault located on-site. In 2001, a seep collection system was installed to catch contaminated groundwater which was seeping onto the ground surface. In addition, Precision will soon be taking action to mitigate the migration of hexavalent chromium from groundwater to Ackerly Creek.


Site Contacts

Administrative Record Locations

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